I recently wrote, "We love the truth because our parents' generation is perpetually obsessed with style over substance, and most of the time they tell us that there is no real truth." Here's a perfect example.

WASHINGTON — A new left-wing think tank — the Center for American Progress (search) — unveiled itself Tuesday as the Democratic vaccine to what center supporters say is a plague of conservatism now dominating America.

"We think the debate has been unbalanced in the country," center president John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Clinton, told Fox News. ...

"The conservative movement has really built up an infrastructure of not just ideas, but the ability to kind of get out there and do the kind of hard communications work to sell to the American public," he added. ...

Podesta insists that conservative institutions like the Heritage Foundation don't have better ideas, but are merely better at marketing. He said he is confident his center can take over the marketplace of ideas with notable innovations such as a big media staff that will push the center's thoughts onto the Internet, television and radio.

I think his perception of reality is incorrect, and many people seem to agree with me. The difficulty they're facing isn't that people don't know the their ideas, it's that people don't like their ideas. The Democrats tried this spin in 2000, 2002, and 2003, all to no avail.
Many Americans say they believe the media are already skewing left of center, and Washington doesn't suffer a shortage of liberal-leaning thinkers perched inside established halls of research.

The real challenge for liberals and Democrats, then, may not be getting their voices heard, but getting control of the White House and Congress, which most frequently frame the discussions.

As long as Republicans control both, Democrats say, few places exist in Washington for their ideas or marketing strategy to take hold.

Yeah. Al Gore's new cable news channel is built around the same theory, and I think both of these ideas will fizzle because of their shaky foundation.

Eugene Volokh has more along the same lines with regard to a proposed liberal radio show hoping to compete against Rush and Sean Hannity.

Nice framing: It's not that lots of American people choose to listen to conservative talk show hosts -- it's that the conservative message is being jammed down their throats. Vivid metaphor; too bad it doesn't quite match the reality.

Of course, "jammed down their throats" is a metaphor. But metaphors are used for a reason; while the speaker expects that readers realize the statement is figurative, the speaker's hope is that the reader accepts the underlying premise behind the figure of speech. When we say someone is a wolf in sheep's clothing, we don't literally mean that he's a large land mammal related to a dog, wearing wool. But we do mean that he's a figurative wolf (i.e., someone dangerous) wearing the clothes of a figurative sheep (i.e., someone unthreatening). "Jammed down their throats" figuratively means "forced onto people who aren't really willing to hear it." And that is nearly the opposite of how radio actually works -- people who really believe that this is how right-wing talk show hosts have gotten their influence are just deluding themselves.



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